The vast majority of books I’ve ghostwritten have been for entrepreneurs. Many have built successful businesses from scratch and genuinely have the desire to help others do the same. Others want to use their expertise to make a career move into becoming a professional speaker, where, again, they’ll teach others their techniques. Some already run camps or workshops and need a book to support that work. There are also entrepreneurs who simply want to record their business philosophies for posterity. A fifth group of clients doesn’t feel a need to have a good reason for writing a book. They just want to do it and that’s enough for them. All these different types of authors have one thing in common—
They need to figure out what they have to say that hasn’t already been said a million times.
After all, business is a pretty simple proposition: buy low and sell high. Give good customer service. Maintain efficiency and build a brand. Most of my business ghostwriting clients want to write books about these types of things, but the trouble is—a lot of books have already been written on these topics. In fact, many of my clients freely admit this and refer to other popular business books where they got their ideas. So, the question remains:
How do I write unique books for each of these clients?
A unique selling proposition is the thing that sets one business apart from another. Perhaps you sell hand-knitted sweaters made of pure alpaca while other sweater-knitters take pride in the quality of their cotton yarn, the speediness of their delivery, or the unusual dyes they use. For each sweater company, that specialty is the unique selling proposition that sets them apart from others in the same field. Most entrepreneurs know the unique selling proposition of their brand, but when it comes to writing a book (usually a business memoir),
It’s my job to figure out the unique selling proposition of my client, as a person. That’s what makes each book unique.
In all honesty, the way entrepreneurs become successful is usually an adherence to typical business principles, hard work, a strong desire to get rich, and a love for the work they do. That’s kind of the recipe for success, all around, but there’s more to it. If it was that easy, we’d all be millionaires. It also takes a personality that’s driven in a certain way, which is where I figure out what is unique about each entrepreneur’s success story.
One entrepreneur succeeded in business because what he really wanted to do was live on a ranch in Africa and study wildlife, so he busted his butt as a businessman until he could sell his business for millions then go live his real dream. Interestingly, he didn’t realize this was the most fascinating part of his story. When he came to me, he thought his message was “give good customer service.”
Another entrepreneur succeeded in business despite being so dyslexic that he couldn’t read a word until technology helped him learn in his fifties. Throughout his meteoric rise in business, he kept the secret from everyone, including his wife. Interestingly, he also did not realize how fascinating this was. He thought his message was “hard work pays off!”
I had one client who thrived on pressure, so he purposely bought a car and house that were way out of his budget in order to spur himself to succeed. For most folks, that kind of pressure would put them in the hospital, but for his personality, it was just the motivation he needed. Interestingly, he didn’t realize his threshold for stress was remarkable. Instead, he thought his message was to always ask “how can I do better?” When I explained what I found unusual about his story, we agreed that his book should seek an audience of entrepreneurs like himself who thrive on stress and pressure, as such people are born, not made.
The unique selling proposition of your business may not actually be the most fascinating part of your story. The real story is you.
In every one of my clients there is a kernel of something unique and different, something that sets them apart from every other successful business person. It’s often something they were born with that they’re completely unaware of (or unaware of how unusual it is). Finding that unique kernel is a big part of my job, which I do through extensive interviews with clients. What’s your unique selling proposition? Hint: your friends and associates probably know what sets you apart better than you do.